LOS ANGELES—That perception that government regulations are tougher for rubber processors in California than elsewhere in the U.S.? It's true, according to officials of two state agencies.
They have to be more stringent when it comes to air quality issues because there's a federal mandate to do so, according to Sam Atwood of the South Coast Air Quality Management District, the air pollution control agency for Orange County, Calif., which includes the urban areas of Los Angeles.
“Think of Los Angeles being the infamous smog capital of the country, if not the world, in the middle or late part of the 20th century,” the media relations manager said. In the 1960s, "70s and "80s, people in the city often couldn't even see the mountains from May to September, the smog was so bad.
“We still have the worst air quality in the nation in the greater Los Angeles metropolitan area,” Atwood said. The SCAQMD's marching orders are to develop plans and regulations to meet federal and state air quality standards. And there's no two ways about it, he said: “We have adopted some of the most stringent regulations in the nation.”
At the same time, the Division of Occupational Safety and Health—better known as Cal-OSHA—doesn't shy away from the fact it is often at the vanguard of rulemaking and enforcement concerning worker safety and health.
“In some areas, Cal-OSHA does enforce regulations that are more protective than those enforced by federal OSHA or other states,” according to Julia L. Bernstein, public information officer for the department. Some rules are tougher than federal standards; others aren't even covered by the federal OSHA.
Be it air quality or worker health and safety, the rules and their enforcement are serious issues all California rubber processors must face.